Simulation of Inelastic Neutron Scattering Spectra Directly from Molecular Dynamics Trajectories

YQ Cheng and AI Kolesnikov and AJ Ramirez-Cuesta, JOURNAL OF CHEMICAL THEORY AND COMPUTATION, 16, 7702-7708 (2020).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jctc.0c00937

Inelastic neutron scattering (INS) is a widely used technique to study atomic and molecular vibrations. With the increasing complexity of materials and thus the INS spectra, being able to simulate the spectra from various atomistic models becomes an essential step and also a major bottleneck for INS data analysis. The conventional approach using density functional theory and lattice dynamics often falls short when the materials of interest are complex (e.g., defective, disordered, heterogeneous, amorphous, large-scale), for which molecular dynamics driven by an interatomic force field is a more common approach. In this paper, we demonstrate a method to directly convert molecular dynamics trajectories into simulated INS spectra, including not only fundamental but also higher order excitations. The results are compared with data collected on various representative samples from different neutron spectrometers. This development will open great opportunities by providing the key tool to perform in-depth analysis of INS data and to validate and optimize computer models.

Return to Publications page